This afternoon, the Ottawa Senators will attempt to do things that they have not done in a while. The Senators were 9-8-1 before a game in Carolina on 17 November 2010. Ottawa would lose that game 7-1 and would never return over .500 that season. The Senators also did not win five games in a row at any point last season. A 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on 1 April 2010 would clinch a playoff spot for the Senators with their sixth straight win.
A win today would be the first five winning streak since that the streak of six games mentioned above. It would also be the first time the Senators are above .500 since losing to Carolina in November of last season.
The only change today is that Robin Lehner will be the backup goaltender tonight with Alex Auld out with injury. Does Lehner start tomorrow against Toronto?
Lehner had an eventful night on Friday after Nikita Filatov left Binghamton's 4-2 win due to being elbowed in the head by Tim Sestito. Filatov's face was bleeding as he left the ice. Robin Lehner came rushing out of his crease and took off his mask before yelling at Sestito. Lehner was given two minutes for roughing and two minutes for leaving his crease. Lehner also made 42 saves. According to Joy Lindsay, Filatov had headaches after the game but didn't feel too bad. Here is a video of the hit on Filatov, looks pretty brutal
There are expected to be no other lineup changes according to the Ottawa Sun. This is the Rangers second home game in their newly renovated arena. New York started the season with a seven-game roadtrip before losing 4-2 to Toronto on Thursday.
Here are the lines from the last game:
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Nick Foligno - Stéphane Da Costa - Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Erik Condra - Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Sergei Gonchar - Jared Cowen
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad
Craig Anderson (starter)
Stats and talking points after the jump.
Here are my talking points:
- Two different styles: The Senators have scored a lot so far and allowed a lot of goals. The Rangers haven't scored much but allowed very few goals. The Rangers leading scorer has five points. The Senators have six guys with more than five points.
- Late drama: In the Senators last three games, they have won a game in regulation despite trailing in the last minute; blown a two-goal lead in the last five minutes before prevailing in a shootout; taken the lead with two minutes left, then allowed an equaliser with under a minute left and then scored the winner with less than five seconds left. Got all that?
- Get a strong start: Ottawa may have won half its games but they have yet to be leading after one period in any of their games. They have also trailed at some point in nine out of their ten games.
- Penalty kill: The win streak has also resulted in an improved penalty kill but the Senators are still among the league leaders in times shorthanded. They have been shorthanded 47 times, tied for third most in the NHL. Chris Phillips is third in the NHL for most shorthanded ice time per game.
Here are the 2011-2012 comparative statistics for the Senators and the Rangers: